Well, that was the problem, wasn’t it? “There was never any question that the powerful American Federation of Teachers — a union representing 1.6 million educators across the country — would endorse Hillary Clinton for president. But on Saturday, when the AFT became the first international labor union to make an endorsement in the contest by announcing its support of Clinton, it drew sharp criticism from teachers as well as other labor leaders, who questioned the timing amid Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ surge in popularity.” Let me explain: when I first read that story, I shrugged and just went past those first two paragraphs. Of course the AFT is supporting Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders: Clinton has one of her followers – Randi Weingarten – running it, and Ms. Weingarten is utterly loyal to the Clinton machine. That’s almost certainly why she’s running the AFT, in fact: Clinton has a vested interest in putting her creatures in positions of purported authority. This is, as the man says, how the Democratic Establishment do.
However, there is a certain percentage of rank-and-file hard labor supporters* who still cling to the charmingly retro position that picking a candidate to endorse should be a more collective decision. And the hard labor folks are getting rather agitated about the way that the AFT didn’t show solidarity with the rest of the AFL-CIO by endorsing early. You see, ostensibly the decision to endorse Hillary Cli… ah, ‘to endorse a Presidential candidate’… was supposed to be made in two weeks at AFL-CIO headquarters; presumably the labor movement would then speak as one voice, and all that. Now they have a potential division in the ranks.
Well, theoretically. The truth is, of course, that whether or not the rank-and-file union people like Bernie Sanders the people running those unions dread his candidacy, in much the same way that a particularly bright pack of Troodons might have dreaded the Chicxulub asteroid. Put another way: there was never more than a small chance that the AFL-CIO would endorse Bernie Sanders. A very, very, very small chance. So, what the AFT did here that infuriated people so was perhaps not so much that they made that chance even smaller; it was that the move merely highlighted the political reality that the decision to endorse Hillary Clinton has already been made by Big Labor, and never you mind what the rank-and-file hicks out in flyover country think.
Seriously, if you think that Republicans or conservatives despise hard Left unionists… well, OK, we kind of do. But said contempt is nothing as to the sheer amused disdain that Big Labor muckety-mucks have for their own pet ideologues and activists. With a special emphasis on the word ‘pet.’
*’Hard labor supporters’ in this case refers to the people who are actually in the union because they want to be in the union, as opposed to the people who are in the union because they either need the insurance benefits, or because state law effectively makes belonging to one easier than not-belonging.